The mindset that is common to U.S. troops serving overseas is that they are all doing it for America, for us, for our rights and freedoms, for our safety and security. They’ll all tell you that they are doing it because they love their country.
There’s one big problem with that mindset, however. The truth is that the troops, through what they’re doing over there, are indirectly destroying our country, our rights and freedoms, our safety and security, and our economic well-being.
Ever since 9/11 and even before, the troops have been killing and maiming people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East. The numbers of people killed and maimed reach into the hundreds of thousands. Only a very tiny minority of those who have been killed or maimed had anything to do with 9/11 attacks. Most of the people killed or maimed just wanted to rid their lands of U.S. troops and U.S. bureaucrats or just happened to be near someone who was being targeted by the troops.
All that killing, maiming, torture, humiliation, and destruction has made people in that part of the world angry at the United States. A certain percentage of them have decided to respond with violence in the form of terrorism.
The hope of U.S. officials has always been that in the process of killing and maiming all those people, the troops would end up killing all those who wished to respond to the violence being inflicted on them with retaliatory violence.
That hasn’t worked out as U.S. officials had hoped, which is why the U.S. government’s war on terrorism is described as perpetual — or at least much longer than the national-security state’s 45-year-old war on communism. The more people the troops killed and maimed, the greater the number of people within that sector of society who desired to respond with terrorist violence. One might say that the troops, by virtue of what they do over there, have become the greatest terrorist-producing machine in history.
So, given the ongoing, perpetual terrorist threat from people who became angry over what the troops were doing, U.S. officials felt that they needed to take steps to keep us “safe and secure” here at home.
And that’s where the destruction of our rights and freedoms comes into play. In the process of “keeping us safe” from the terrorist threat that the troops have created through their killing and maiming people over there, U.S. officials embarked on a program that destroys the freedom, privacy, and well-being of the American people.
Consider the mass surveillance scheme that the NSA has been secretly conducting on the American people ever since 9/11. There is no way to reconcile such a scheme with the principles of a genuinely free society. The NSA’s secret surveillance scheme is what communist regimes have. Just look at North Korea, Cuba, China, and Vietnam. They all spy on their citizens and secretly monitor their activities.
So, why does America have a communist-like program here in our country? The NSA will be the first to tell you: in order to ferret out the terrorists before they can come and do us harm. Those would be the people who are filled with rage over the killing, maiming, and destroying that U.S. troops are engaged in over there.
Thus, notice the critical relationship between the troops over there and the NSA’s destruction of liberty and privacy here at home.
Consider the president’s, Pentagon’s, and CIA’s extraordinary post-9/11 authority to round up Americans as suspected terrorists, cart them away to a military dungeon or concentration camp for indefinite detention, torture them, deny them trial by jury and other procedural guarantees, and even assassinate or execute them, all with immunity and impunity.
Once again, those are all features of a communist-run society, not a free society.
So, how is that that the United States has come to adopt such communist-like programs?
Once again, the justification is to “keep us safe.” Safe from what? From the people over there who are angry over what the troops are doing over there. The more people the troops kill and maim, the angrier people get, the greater the threat of terrorist retaliation, the greater the need to keep us safe, and the greater the infringements on our freedom and well-being.
The troops have convinced themselves that they’re over there killing the people who would otherwise be coming over here to kill us. That’s ridiculous. If people wanted to come over here to kill us, they could easily circumvent the troops and come over here and kill us. The fact is that ever since 9/11 and even before, the troops, through their killing, torturing, maiming, and destroying, have been creating the very danger that U.S. officials have been using to destroy our freedom and well-being here at home.
I’ve got an idea. Let’s bring all the troops home from overseas and see what happens. After all, isn’t “defense” supposed to be defense? Switzerland believes in defense and their troops remain home defending the Swiss people. Interestingly, they also aren’t been attacked by angry terrorists.
I say: Let’s copy the Swiss model on defense. Let’s bring all the troops right home and have them defend America from the people that U.S. officials claim are coming to get us.
The troops would end up being totally bored. Americans would quickly learn that no one is coming to get them, any more than anyone is going to Switzerland to get the Swiss. That would mean that there would be no more justification for the NSA, the CIA, the military-industrial complex, and the entire national-security state and their destruction of American liberty through their embrace of communist-like apparatuses and programs. Indeed, there would be no more reason for out-of-control warfare-state spending, borrowing, and taxing, all of which are also destroying our country.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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